6 Surprising Animals Who Are Tested On—Is Your Dog’s Doppelganger One of Them?

Published by Katherine Sullivan.

When we think of animals who are tested on, vulnerable mice, rats, and guinea pigs likely come to mind. (“Be the guinea pig”? No! ❌ “Be the test tube.” ✔️) Perhaps sensitive rabbits, too. And while rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, and rats used in laboratories most definitely need our continued help, so do these other victims of animal testing—and their identities may surprise you.

  1. Fish in Laboratories

Each year, millions of feeling, intelligent fish are confined, abused, and killed in cruel experiments in laboratories around the world. Holes are drilled into the tiny skulls of goldfish, and steel coils are implanted in their eyes; zebrafish are killed, and their brains are removed after being injected with amphetamines; and rainbow trout and other fish are subjected to painful, archaic toxicity tests in which they’re poisoned to death with harmful chemicals.

Help fish and other animals who are abused in laboratories by taking these six simple actions.

  1. Dogs in Laboratories

When I think of golden retrievers, I recall my childhood best friends, Sequoia and Sierra. When Texas A&M University (TAMU) thinks of golden retrievers, “torture” is apparently what comes to mind. For years, TAMU experimenters have been tormenting dogs in a failed attempt to find a cure for muscular dystrophy (MD) in humans—but the bogus experiments haven’t produced one. Yet 29 dogs are still trapped in the university’s notorious canine MD laboratory—and they need our help.

Beagles and other dogs are subjected to heinous tests, too. At Liberty Research, Inc., dogs were injected with pesticides and holes were drilled into their heads. In one experiment, workers used a drill to bore holes into the skulls of 30 young beagles so that distemper virus could be injected directly into their brains. Some of the dogs blinked and even whimpered during the painful procedure, indicating that they had not been adequately anesthetized. Imagine if such pain were inflicted on your beloved canine companion.

beagle at Liberty Research

At Liberty Research, Inc., beagles spent day after day inside cramped, barren cells. They were never allowed to feel the warmth of the sunshine on their backs or soft grass beneath their paws.

Take action to end cruel experiments on dogs.

  1. Cats in Laboratories

Most of us think of cats as sometimes sassy but always beloved feline companions—ones who love the boxes our Amazon orders arrive in and sometimes nap in mind-bogglingly tight places. Yet more than 19,000 cats are abused in U.S. laboratories every year—in addition to the tens of thousands who are killed and sold to schools for cruel and crude classroom dissections.

Dissected cat at a veterinary school. Canada, 2007.© Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals
A dissected cat at a veterinary school in Canada in 2007

For example, dozens of cats were imprisoned, cut into, and killed in cruel and useless “sound localization” experiments at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW)—that is, until the UW laboratory closed its doors following an intense PETA campaign. The remaining cats were even adopted into private homes.

Over at the University of Utah (the U), a PETA investigator noted that a pregnant cat who had been purchased from a local animal shelter for $15 gave birth to eight kittens the very day that she arrived at the university—then a chemical was injected into the kittens’ brains and they all died. In another experiment at the U, a hole was drilled into the skull of a cat named Robert, who had also been bought from a local shelter, and electrodes were attached to his brain. A subsequent PETA campaign led to Robert’s adoption into a good home as well as an announcement from the U that it would no longer obtain animals from shelters, effectively ending pound seizure in the state of Utah.

Tell the U to do even better by cats and other animals.

  1. Monkeys in Laboratories

If I were to ask you simply to picture monkeys, you’d probably imagine lush forests, trees with swinging branches, maybe one of our fellow primates grooming lice from a buddy’s hair … what you likely wouldn’t picture, though, is the horror show that is experimenter Elisabeth Murray’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) laboratory.

The skulls of Murray’s monkey victims are carved out, and toxins are injected into their brains or parts of their brains are sucked out. They’re tormented with fake spiders and snakes and then killed. And this is all for experiments that are completely useless for helping us understand human health.

monkeys scared with fake spiders and snakes

Experimenter Elisabeth Murray’s snakes and spiders are artificial but realistic-looking, and some can move and even jump. In response, some of her monkey victims freeze or turn away. Others panic and shake their cage. Some grimace or smack their lips. All of them go into a state of distress.

Bigotry begins when categories such as race, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or species are used to justify discrimination.

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NIH throws taxpayer money at Murray’s laboratory as if it grows on trees, even though she and her associates acknowledged years ago that the experiments are flawed because the extreme stress that the monkeys endure as well as other factors may influence the outcome. “[W]e cannot rule out the possibility that environmental factors such as stress contributed to the genetic influence on cognition we report,” Murray and her colleagues admitted in a 2007 paper.

Tell NIH to stop funding the torment of monkeys.

  1. Birds in Laboratories

Yeah, you read that right: birds. Barn owls in a basement laboratory, to be exact. Even though barn owls are just like us (except probably cooler), Johns Hopkins University (JHU) experimenter Shreesh Mysore holds these sensitive animals captive in his laboratory, cuts into their skulls, pokes electrodes around in their brains, forces them to watch dots on a screen, and eventually kills them—all so he can supposedly learn something about humans with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Tell JHU to shut the owl laboratory down now. >>

This owl is one of many imprisoned in Shreesh Mysore’s basement laboratory, where he cuts into their skulls and screws metal devices onto their heads in curiosity-driven experiments that have no relevance to human health.

Over at Colorado State University (CSU), a group led by experimenter Gregory Ebel is using our tax dollars to trap American crows, American robins, and house sparrows; infect them with West Nile virus; watch as they develop symptoms from the infection; and kill them. These experiments don’t help birds or humans. Ebel himself has acknowledged that viral mechanisms differ radically among bird species. Please tell CSU to pull the plug on Ebel’s cruel and worthless experiments.

Since 2008, serial bird killer Christine Lattin has been torturing birds in bizarre experiments, too. She once tormented wild songbirds in pointless experiments at Yale University. Now at Louisiana State University, she has embarked on another installment of her continuing effort to rid the world of joy with a new round of pointless experiments that involve killing and dismembering house sparrows. Both barn owls and house sparrows are monogamous, and both mothers and fathers of each species have been known to participate in feeding their young. Even though these birds share similarities with humans—including a preference for not being tormented and killed for fake science—Mysore, Ebel, and Lattin’s university killing sprees continue. Please, urge LSU to stop Lattin’s experiments on captured sparrows. >>

Louisiana State University alum Holly Reynolds (far right) spends her 100th birthday speaking out for animals.

Take action: Help all birds used in experiments.

  1. Pigs in Laboratories

There’s a reason screenwriters didn’t compose “Babe: Pig in the Laboratory“—even in a fictional film, a pig in a lab is never OK. Yet in the laboratories of the Cleveland Clinic, a PETA undercover investigation exposed that pigs are used as “practice for new doctors”—living, breathing practice dummies. Others were subjected to experimental rectal surgery. When not being tortured for experiments, the normally social, playful animals were kept inside barren cages.

Following our investigation, we submitted our findings to NIH and have requested that the agency conduct its own investigation.

Join us: Call on NIH to stop funding cruel experiments at the Cleveland Clinic.


Fish, mice, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, dogs, cats, monkeys, birds, and pigs—these are all animals who don’t want to die for “science” any more than you or I do. (And other species are tested on, too.) So the next time you have the opportunity to help animals used in experiments (like, right now), take it—more lives depend on us taking action that you might’ve previously thought. Click on the link below to help PETA end animal tests.

Take Action: Help Animals Used in Experiments

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind